"I Want To Be A Responsible Llama Owner!"

by Tom and Judy Ross, Good News Llamas

Our first llamas came to live with us after we fell in love with them at the regional llama show in 1995. Our goal was to use our llamas in our ministry of sharing Christ with others. The llamas quickly became part of our family and our friends. They consume every minute of our spare time. They have brought such joy to our lives and to those with whom we share them.Emily and Gracie

As we continue to be mentored from all of you and as we learn more about our llamas we must now share what is heavy on our heart. Please, we are not passing judgment just sharing our own personal concerns and what we will try to do to become a responsible breeder.

As we await the birth of our first cria with great excitement many people have told us, as the old saying goes, "you can’t have just one". Once you have that first cria you can’t stop. WHY NOT? In all the publications and sale papers we receive in our mail, we read "herd reduction", "barn full", make us an offer.

As we enter into the fourth year of being a llama owner and now a breeder we stopped and looked at some questions that needed to be answered for our own farm and our breeding program.

  • How many llamas can our acreage support?
  • How much time do we have to give to our animals?
  • How much money do we have to invest in healthcare and
    a health maintenance program?
  • What are the goals of our farm?
  • What is the current market for llamas?

To share a little bit of our background we have raised horses, cattle and for many years we raised and showed Boxer’s. As we traveled the show circuit the atmosphere among the breeders was always hoping to get that perfect nose, that perfect top line, "a champion". Well what happens to those animals who aren’t perfect? As a member of the Heart of Ohio Boxer Rescue we hear many sad and appalling accounts of these Magnificent proud animals who now need to be rescued. Many end in death because of neglect and abuse. As we attend animal functions such as Pet Expo and view the many rescue groups for the different dog breeds the pain is felt in our hearts. We are so grateful for those who give of themselves to help this ever growing "rescue effort".

As the llama population is increasing rapidly in our state we have already seen a need to rescue some precious llamas. These llamas were once a bouncing loved cria, awaiting a loving home. Llamas are showing up everywhere for sale. Some with health problems and many with genetic problems resulting from inbreeding and poor herd management. We have seen llamas who live their life in small pens or stalls, some even tied to stakes circling around a little muddy circle. Llamas are intelligent social animals needing a companion, exercise, and a source of being. Can we as a responsible breeder continue to add to this problem of so many unwanted llamas that for some reason "just didn’t work out". Our heart breaks to even think that one of the precious cria’s from our farm would end up being neglected or being passed from sale to sale. What is the answer?

We are new to this llama group, but we are not new to the sufferings of animals. Can we stop and ask ourselves why do we breed. We know breeders in Ohio who have already made a decision to limit breeding and to encourage new owners to purchase geldings and males and we applaud their efforts.

What is the future of the llama? God gave us dominion over the animals, to care for and to watch over them.

How can we start now to prepare a safer future for His creation. Will the llama we bring into this world have a safe, healthy and useful life? Will we provide pre-purchase visits, follow-up visits, and allow the new owner an option to help them place their purchase if is does not work out. As breeders this is our responsibility and we will strive to do our best.

Tom and Judy Ross
Good News Llamas
Feb 1999